A couple of weeks ago we accompanied Si Richardson and Hugh Farrow of GCN to the factory in Wales which manufactures the Graphene that we use for our bike frames.
It was a Thursday, the Thursday that in the UK had significant snow fall in the forecast arriving in the West and then moving steadily along the M4 corridor during the evening rush hour ! Exactly on our route to and from Wales.
However, we arrived without incident in the Dassi van, carrying the Dassi Interceptor™ in Graphene – well we didn’t want to risk that on the top of a car in driving snow, did we ?
After an initial look around the factory to see what was there, Si got down to the important business of writing and learning his script. An amazing process to see in action, Simon is very impressive in gathering the facts, including in this case a lot of technical details and generating an engaging narrative for his viewers.
In the factory we witnessed the slow turning of the reactor that chemically exfoliates the 2D graphene material from raw graphite. The product, which you may have seen, is a black dust like substance not vastly different to soot to the casual viewer !
A couple of experiments had been set up for us showing how when doped with silicon, Graphene becomes super hydrophobic and does not mix with water, not matter how vigorously you stir the spoon in the jar.
Later in the day we also saw some Graphene coated film which demonstrates just how well water is repelled by this material.
The second experiment showed how when laden with oxygen Graphene can be mixed with water and this is the type of Graphene that is impregnated with our epoxy resin to bond with the carbon fibre.
Although now sleeting the GCN guys were keen to get some footage of the bike outside, so we took a trip up into the local hills to Carreg Cennen Castle, Wales’ most spectacularly positioned castle, in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Snowing heavily now, the guys set the bike up complete with lights and Si did his piece to camera, then we made a swift exit not wanting to get caught in the snow on roads described by the locals as ‘not very good’ in bad weather !
On our return journey we stopped in to see the new reactor that has been built for Graphene production and took the opportunity of photographing the bike next to this shiny new beast.
We also saw the differences in carbon fibre that had been impregnated with Graphene and some that hadn’t, which gives a really clear image of how the Graphene completely bonds the epoxy and the carbon fibre together, making the material opaque.
The feedback to latest GCN video has been great, if you haven’t seen it yet you can check it out here.
In a future blog we’ll be covering the science behind Graphene in greater depth, so watch out on social media for the latest news.